Archive for the ‘YA Novel’ Category:

Yodel-Activated Book Sales on the Rise

With the phenomenon of Yodel-Activated books sweeping the country, booksellers have a hard time keeping up. The books, now a standard feature on Nook and Kindle, respond to the voice’s “break point,” so that each user gets a unique reading experience.”You use your break point to set up the beginning,” explains Lani Travers of BreakPointBooks. “Then, depending on the range of your yodeling, you can generate multiple stories, which you can read on your reader. Someone with really good technique may generate complex literary fiction.”

Reports show YA sales, along with Children’s books, up 21% in 2014. And a study conducted in 2012 indicated that 55% of YA books are read by adults.

Needless to say, the new technology has been a windfall for yodeling teachers. “I just can’t believe it,” says Jackie Tasket, Dean of the University of Kentucky’s yodeling program. “I’ve had a hundred and eighty applicants for our Yodeling MFA this week alone.”

That’s a whole lot of Yodel-ay-ee-hoo!

 

Can We Talk?

I have not shared any of my work-in-progress here because it has felt too close to the bone. It’s a YA. It’s about art. And it’s about time-travel. It’s about a girl who feels responsible for keeping someone else alive, and how she goes back in time and thinks she wants to stay there. It’s a verse-novel, so it’s made up entirely of poems.

But it’s time for some mutual sharing. I’m looking for a small group of young people (high school/college) and some art. We’d all need pens and notebooks and maybe sketchpads. I’m going to share part of the book with you and then we’ll talk about the girl in the book and maybe about ourselves, too. Then we’ll need the art, because art has this amazing capacity for healing. We’re going to each choose a piece of art–on a gallery wall, maybe, and sit with it for a while, and write. The fancy term for this is “ekphrastic poetry” (a term I like very much).

That’s about it.  The workshop would be free (I got a 4Culture grant for it), so all I need is the people and the art. I could take a max of maybe a dozen. If you know someone who doesn’t usually get to do this kind of thing because of money, let me know. We’ll figure out the dates when we’ve got the people, but I’d like to do it in the summer. The only constraint is it has to happen in King County. Who’s in? Who can find us some art?

Here’s an excerpt from the book. In this poem, Alice, the main character, is staring at a Jackson Pollack painting at the Seattle Art Museum.

Jackson Pollack--Sea ChangeSea Change

I could get lost here

In the tarry black of the Pollack.

It spiders me in,

Webbing faces, flames,

The sails of ships.

 

When I’m here,

I’m not there,

Not home,

Alert to every change

In his cadence.

 

If I climbed into this painting,

Tumbled

Into the starry depths

I would land somewhere

Quiet.

 

What would it be

To stop the ringing fear

Inside my head?

To lose my footing

And fall, no way

for anyone to reach me?

 

I would land in a hall of mirrors,

Each self beckoning me

To follow in and in

Until all I could hear

Was my own abandoned voice.

©2014 Katherine Grace Bond, from Looking-Glass Girl, manuscript in progress

 

The Importance of “Off-Stage” Writing: 5 Ways to Use a Secret Journal

You’ve just taken Pamela Protagonista, rebel goth girl, through the perils of cheerleader camp where she has scored a victory over Amanda Antagonistella, who was not as good at karaoke as she thought. The Final Showdown is twenty chapters away and you have no idea why Pamela would go to Kennebunkport nor how she will score a train ticket without Reginald finding out. You’ve made lists and charted character arcs and rechecked the color of Reginald’s eyes, but nothing gives. You are stuck. Hopelessly.

It’s time to take your writing off the “stage” of your manuscript and do some secret journal writing–writing that no one will ever see. At least, that’s what you need to tell yourself. Your story journal will have more in it than charts and lists. It’s a kind of conversation. I use mine to do the following things:

1) Rant. “The writing is going SO badly and there are so many bills and why won’t those women at the next table TALK MORE QUIETLY? Is it all the wine they’ve had? Why do I do this? Should I be a writer at all? Maybe I should have gone into real estate.”

2) Plan. “Today I need to not only tackle chapter four, but thread Amanda’s poodle through chapters one through three. Let’s see if I can hit a word count of 2k.”

3) Play What-If. “What if Pamela hates Reginald? What if he is the cause of her isolation? What if she really wants to be a Broadway actress, but her father forbids her to take acting classes? What if she and Amanda were originally best friends?”

4) Play Why-Maybe. “Why would Pamela hate Reginald? Maybe he humiliated her.  Maybe he thought he was doing something nice, but it backfired and he’s too embarrassed to tell her. Maybe this happened at prom. Maybe he invited her and didn’t show. Why would he do that?”

5) Write fake scenes. Tell yourself these are practice scenes and you’re not really going to use them. Then you can write whatever you want as horribly as you want. Often these scenes will stay in the journal forever. But sometimes you’ll find something the book needs–something you’d never have written “on stage.”

Want support and accountability in your writing? YA Novel Writing: Captivating the Teen Reader begins April 8 at Bellevue College. To register, go to the Bellevue College Continuing Ed website.

 

OMG! Girl Saves Baby Cougars with Hot Celebrity Lookalike While Trying to Understand the Nature of Death and Find Spiritual Truth

“I am going to say this from right here, right now! The Synopsis of The Summer of No Regrets is SO misleading. It leads a reader to believe that it is a frilly novel with no depth, it leads a reader to believe that it is your average run of the mill contemporary YA novel, with a typical romance and teenage angst. The story that Katherine Grace Bond gives us is none of that.”–Sara, Just Another Story book blog
 

I’ve been itching to talk about this since THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS came out: Does the outside of the book match the inside?

Many readers are surprised by the story. Some love the surprise; others feel they got more than they bargained for.

Sara’s review went on to show a real understanding of the book, and it seems fair for me to take a stab at addressing her frequently-brought-up opening statement about the synopsis.

I gave my publisher a tough job. THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS is really hard to describe in a few words.

  • Is it about a girl whose boyfriend may be a secret celebrity? Yes.
  • Is it about a girl who decides to take risks? Yes.
  • Is it about a girl who has lost the two people who knew her best–one to death and the other to abandonment? Yes, again.
  • Is it about a girl looking for spiritual truth? Yes, that, too.

Which of these will probably be of the most immediate interest to readers?

I’m all about meaning and have experienced grief, but I have to admit that what got me writing this book was the celebrity thing–once I got over my fear of being shallow. But because I’m all about meaning, I can never leave a story on the surface. I have to dig. I have to ask questions like: What is fame? What is it to be known? What are we all longing for?

I couldn’t write a book that simply went:

Girl: OMG, are you…?

Guy: I look intriguingly like him, don’t I?

Girl: But this is such a small town!

Guy: It is small. And you are here. And I am exceedingly hot. But mysterious.

Girl: You must be him! Then again, no! You can’t be! But maybe you are!

Guy: Keep guessing, babe. It’s sexy when you do that.

Girl: But wait! I don’t even like the guy you look like.

Guy: This presents a problem. But I am so sexy, you’ll get over it.

Girl: *Sigh* You’re right. My, what big muscles you have!

No, for me, the book had to have more to say…

Guy: Since we’re up in this treehouse in the dark, I may as well tell you I am looking for spiritual truth.

Girl: It’s dark. We’re alone. It’s after midnight.  And you’re talking about religion?!

Wait, that’s not how it went.

Girl: Spiritual things? You are so groovy!

Well, she wouldn’t have said “groovy.”

But as soon as one of the characters says “spiritual” some readers begin to break out in hives, worried they are about to be preached at–worried, in fact, that the book is a cleverly-disguised religious tract. I can say that writing a tract was not my intention, but ultimately only the reader can decide how they feel about spirituality in a YA novel. For some, even the mention of such a thing is a dealbreaker.

And this was just one tough thing my publisher faced when taking a chance on this book. And in figuring out what to put on the back cover.

Guy: Do you have issues with your father? Because I have HUGE issues with mine. And my mum, who I won’t talk to anybody about. I noticed your dad was dancing around in the woods dressed as a cougar. Is this because he misses his parents?

Girl: You are very insightful as well as hot. My dad talks trash about my grandparents–or at least he did until they died. Now he doesn’t talk about them.

Guy: This is deep and tragic.

Girl: You are so sexy.

Guy: People tell me that. I think it’s because I look so much like that guy. The hot one? In the movies?

Girl: Oh, yeah! I’d almost forgotten about him.

Guy: No, you hadn’t.

Girl: Okay, I lied.

Guy: I heard you’re writing a book about all this.

Girl: Yes, but I can’t explain what  it’s about.

Guy: Duh! It’s about me!

Girl: Nice try. It’s really about my personal search for meaning and my recovery from a deep loss.

Guy: Is that what you’re writing on the back cover?

Girl: Something like that. It has to have the word “religion” in it.

Guy: It does?

Girl: Why? Is that a bad idea?

Guy: I don’t know anything about publishing, but you might want to ask your editor.

Girl: “The unbelievably deep story of a girl who wants to find a religion because she needs to understand death after her grandparents die and her father may as well have.”

Guy: Okay, seriously, I do care about your pain. Honestly, I do. But my own incredible cover-worthiness aside, that’s just a tiny bit depressing.

Girl: You think you should be on the cover of the book?

Guy: Well, not all by myself…

Girl: You think we should both be on the cover.

Guy: Hugging.

Girl: Yeah?

Guy: Gazing into each other’s eyes.

Girl: Pink sunset?

Guy: Definitely.

Girl: Hmm.

Guy: About to kiss.

Girl: Yes! I mean…really?

Guy: If it’s okay with you.

Girl: It sounds…

Guy: Fun?

Girl: Um… yeah. Quite, very, extremely fun. *blushes*

Guy: I promise we could talk about religion first.

Girl: On the beach?

Guy: Over fish and chips. I’ll pay. And there’s this lighthouse I want to show you…

Review of FLYAWAY by Helen Landalf

FlyawayFlyaway by Helen Landalf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things I loved about this book, besides the winsomeness of its protagonist, Stevie, was that it didn’t present easy answers. Stevie has grown up in an intolerable situation, but she loves her mother despite her mother’s flaws, and is determined to be loyal to her.

Even when I wanted to shake Stevie and say, “You’ve got to get out of there, girl!” I believed it entirely when she continued to cling to her mom’s empty promises.

It was exciting to see Stevie gradually begin to honor her own dreams and let go of blaming herself for her mom’s choices.

I also loved Alan–tough, cynical, wounded and full of possibility. I’d have liked to see Stevie challenge him even more than she did, but I have a feeling that as she gains confidence in herself she will be more and more honest.

This is a book whose characters continue to live and breathe, even after the last page.

View all my reviews

The Summer of No Regrets Book Trailer!!

Thanks to voiceover actress and model Michelle Weidner, actor Aaron Bond, photographer Andrew Bond, and Ryan Schmidt of Moon Rock Creative for scripting, directing and production magic!

Check Out “I Like These Books” on The Summer of No Regrets Blog Tour

Britta at I Like These Books is a teenage blogger and one of the contributors to Spoiler Alert (The Book Recap). When she’s not reading or blogging, she spends her time baking and babysitting. It’s true, she’s way too domestic for a teenager. (She says.)

Britta also writes an excellent blog with a gazillion followers. I got to answer a few Brigitta questions on her blog today. http://www.ilikethesebooks.com/2012/04/this-or-that-with-brigitta-from-summer.html

Thanks, Reading Angel

Angela, at Reading Angel has officially launched the SUMMER OF NO REGRETS blog tour. These book bloggers completely amaze me. They blog on their own time out of a love for books. Many also have their own novels in progress or out for query. I think they are the life blood of publishing. Go check out Reading Angel’s blog for some great reads. Here’s what she says about herself:

I’m Angela. 26-year-old stay at home mom. I’ve been married for 8 years to a wonderful man. Reading is my passion. I love sharing thoughts and book ideas with others. I love to talk about books and blogging with anyone, so never feel shy about emailing me or chatting me up on twitter!!!  I try to post reviews for everything I read here, and I love getting comments!!

My reading passion is YA books, but I read a lot of paranormal, urban fantasy, and humorous romance.

I spend more money on books than I do on food, my favorite color is clear, and I trip over my own feet.
I will wear a hoodie all year, even when it’s freezing, (summer it just goes on in the evenings).
It has to be at least 4 sizes to large because I want it to swallow me.
So, that’s where you’ll find me today, with a book, swallowed by a hoodie ;)

 

Naked

Now that I have your attention…

I’ve been thinking again about why I write. With THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS so close to release, I barely have time to think about this. But every debut novelist has to grapple with “Me-And-My-Ego.” While I’m busy with promotion, it’s easy for me to get distracted by “Please love my book and say I’m wonderful,” as if that is the point of what I do. But since I have no desire to relive junior high (“What do you think of me? Am I pretty? Does my crush think I’m pretty? What can I do to make you like me?”), I have to consider why I really write.

It’s because I want my readers to look at each other’s eyes.

No, really. Really look. A book can help us do that, I think. We meet someone new–even if it’s a fictional character–and then maybe we can risk stepping out of our isolation or into someone else’s. A real someone. The girl at the next lunch table, maybe. Or the guy bagging our groceries. Or a friend we haven’t really talked to in a long time.

I wrote a bunch of poems at the Seattle Art Museum a couple of years ago, in response to the artist Cris Brodahl. I sat with her paintings for hours, watching people come in and out. They’d look at the work for a short time or a long time. She has this kind of layered thing she does, where she’ll put one painting on top of another, like this one called “The Fall.” The face behind is different from the face in front. And the painting is a nude so, yeah, lots of people stare at it for a while. (Ah, NOW you’re clicking the link.) Okay, so I’m not encouraging lunchroom nudity or anything, but I thought about the risk we take when we expose our true selves, when we say what we think and how we feel and who we are. And I wondered if it was worth it to do that. And I’m still not absolutely certain that it is. But sometimes when we do, we see each other’s eyes for the first time.

 

The Fall

When publicly undressed
You must
Remain serene.
Do not notice
The breeze across your belly,
Tightness of shoulders,
Weight of your breasts.

Pretend
No one stands, head atilt,
Scrutinizing the curves of your body,
Crook of an elbow,
The intermittent catch of your throat.

Imagine you do not lean
Over a precipice.

Instead, be rain,
Shale, Snow,
Small tumble that shakes the mountain,
Behind your face
A clandestine smile.

You alone
Know your secret tipping point,
How to slide out of view,
Hidden in your skin.

Rockfall,
Facefall,
Voicefall,
Freefall.

Do not mistake
Serenity for safety,
You, who chose this starkness.
Danger attends revelation,
Like a brooding lady-in-waiting.
Danger
Has her own secrets.

Wait
For the one who will stare into your eyes.
Hold still and do not look away.
The earth tips under both of you.
Let it.

Fall
Like a flame,
Like a dying star,
And do not be afraid.

©2010 Katherine Grace Bond

What I Learned by "Winning" NaNoWriMo Through Cheating and Trickery

…and yes, I am going to buy the tee-shirt.

 

 

The task? Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Usually, Iuse NationalNovel Writing Month to get as much word count aspossible on my work-in-progress. This is already cheating—but since I’ve nevercome close to winning, I haven’t felt guilty about it.

 

But three days before the start of this year’s NaNo, myeditor says, “Katherine, we need to start thinking about 2013.” Now,this does not constitute a book contract, but it does constitute a challenge. Idecide to begin a new novel on November 1 and that this year I will”win” NaNoWriMo.

 

 

Day 1: Brainstorm—characters, ideas, suggestions from Facebookfriends, (Hula Hoops, a camel, a zeppelin and “copious amounts ofdefenestration.”) I write all this sort of thing into what Janet LeeCarey calls a “story journal.” At The Lyons’ Den in Bothell, I try to write the opening scene, but a man at the nexttable is determined to attract my attention. I turn him into an eleven-year-oldgirl with black fingernail polish and add him to my word count. My goal is2,000 words a day. I’m going to finish early!

 

Day 2: Teaching day. Spend the entire day on lessons, and theentire evening hosting the Duvall 1st Wednesday Poetry Reading at Match Coffee and Wine Bar in Duvall, But, it’s only Day 2, right?

 

Day 3: Up to 1710 words. I’ll catch up.

 

Day 4: Paesano’s Coffee in Monroe. Lots of story journaling. A hunky, shirtless guy on a dirtbike has appeared and called my heroine Principessa.All in all, not a bad writing day.

 

Day 5: My son takes the SAT, so I hole up at Caffé Ladro in Edmonds and write. I hear an NPRinterview on Joan of Arc and decide she’ll have to go into thebook—somehow.

 

Day 8: My protagonist nearly drowns, so I spent many hoursresearching water safety on Mario Vittone’s blog. Then I teach a teen poetry workshop for RASP.

 

Days 9-14:Hunky guy doesn’t want protagonistto know he saved her life. Girl with black fingernail polish followsprotagonist everywhere. Up to 12,769 words. Still behind, but I have lots oftime.

 

Day 15: Wee hours of the morning. I watch a live feed of theeviction of Occupy Wall Street from Zucotti Park. Suddenly my screen freezes.When I reboot, my entire D drive is gone. Restore takes all day.

 

Day 16: Teaching day. D drive disappears again overnight.

 

Day 17: Restore.

 

Days18-19: TEENWriteBecause I’ve put TEENWrite into thebook, I come as my protagonist’s character, an elf.

 

Days20–26: School break. When I’ve had a goodwriting day, I get to watch Dr. Who.Make it to 17,963. 32k to go, which is somewhat alarming. Make plan for writing8k per day which is, frankly, impossible. Paste the story I wrote at TEENWrite into the book for another 857words. This is not really cheating.

 

Day 27: My daughter, Sarah walks by my office and says innocently,“Why don’t you include your story journal in your word count? It IS part ofwriting your novel.” Word count jumps suddenly by 7k.

 

Day 28: My friend, MollyBlaisdell dares me to write over 8k in a day.She uses Muppet Movie tickets as bait. (Molly’s picture book THE BIG FUZZY COAT is a contender on theMeeGenius Author Challenge) I add 8265words, including Psalm69, which I cut and paste in its entirety. (One of the characters prays alot.)

 

Day 29: One of my characters says, “Do you want me to tell you whatHindus believe?” Bing “What do Hindus Believe?”Seconds later I have 160 more words. Realize that one of my characters is a CatStevens fan, and paste the lyrics to “TheWind,” “I Wish, I Wish” and “How Can I Tell You?” into my story journal (nowpart of my word count). I go to The Wayward Coffeehouse in Seattle, where I write like crazy with a bunch of otherWrimos.

 

Day 30: Teaching day. Have not slept since yesterday. Phone meetingwith publicist in the morning. Get son from clarinet lesson. Grade stuff. Conversewith a student about leprechauns. Teach in an even more crazed fashion thanusual. Go home. I have seven hours to finish this book. 7775 words to go. Hunkyguy in book writes a very nice song. Characters sneak into the Lan SuChinese Garden. By 11:15 PM, I have 47k… There isNO WAY I will write 3,000 words in 45 minutes! I wrack my brains. And this iswhere the real cheating begins: My “secret blog” contains words. And myprotagonist and I muse about similar things… I paste in two blog posts. Notenough. I write more on the Lan Su scene. Still not enough. It is 11:52. Didn’tI start another book with that one character who’s in this book? I paste in theopening of that book And…I WIN!!!!!

 

So, now Ihave learned my lesson: It doesn’t matterwhether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game? No. It matters thatyou win.

 

1) In 30 days, I have writtenapproximately 150 manuscript pages. I have a full outline and 19 characters. Ifpressed, I could probably write a synopsis tomorrow. (Note to Leah—please don’tpress. The one I send later will be better.)

 

2) This manuscript contains huge gaps,but the writing is actually pretty good—maybe even better than writing I’ddeliberated over.

 

3) When there’s no time to figure outall the whys and whens, write “the heart of the scene.” Like the heart of the TARDIS, that’swhere all the power is, anyway.

 

4) DIALOGUE is the backbone of a novel.

 

5) Get a little help from your friends:When I was ready to give up, my friends were there with cheers and challenges.And, I got great tips from the Nanowrimoforums, which I’d never thought I had time for.

 

6) Even though I am a NaNoWriMoRebel I still feel giddy with success. Hitting that 50k, even with “illegal”content, gives me the confidence that I needto turn a viable book into a publishable book.
Katherine